There are three main healthcare options available in Phuket. The first is a private clinic. These are usually much cheaper, but are suitable only for minor ailments or health certificates.
The second is a government hospital. The main one is Vachira in Phuket Town, and there are also govt hospitals in Patong and Thalang.
The third is a private hospital. There are three main ones – Bangkok hospital, Phuket International (also known as the Sirirote hospital) and the Mission hospital. All are in or around Phuket Town.
Should I go government or private?
Like most countries around the world, if you’ve got money to burn, or good insurance, you should probably go private.
That’s not to say the government system is bad – it’s not, – and some doctors work in both.
If you’re in a traffic accident or you’re having a baby, remember that the doctors and nurses at Vachira have had far more practice than any other hospital.
On the other hand, private hospitals are usually more geared towards treating foreigners, especially when it comes to language, eliminating potentially dangerous misunderstandings.
How much will it cost?
Prices vary massively. Getting a health certificate from a private clinic will cost you a hundred baht or so, while you could pay as much as B3,000 just to sit in the same room as a doctor at one of the private hospitals. So if you’re going private, make sure you have solid insurance.
What about the quality of care?
Many newcomers to Thailand often cite this as a cause of concern. They needn’t. While the standard of public healthcare and private clinics can vary, the standard of private health facilities in Phuket is first-class, and on a level with most Western counterparts.
What do I do in an emergency?
There is no centralised ambulance service in Phuket. If you are involved in or witness an accident, you can contact your favourite hospital directly, or notify the Kusoldharm Rescue Service or the tourist police who can then make arrangements for you.
Put these numbers in your phone now. Ready? The number for the Kusoldharm is 076 246 301. The number for the Tourist Police is 1155.
Also, keep the number of your embassy handy in case there are any major problems.
As a foreigner, if you are unable to communicate – for example, you’ve had a bang on the head – you will most likely be taken to the Bangkok hospital or the Phuket International. So again, make sure you have decent insurance to avoid embarrassment later on.
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